Sunday, July 24, 2005

Schwarzenegger: Gulliver or Terminator?

Is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Gulliver, the giant prisoner of a race of little people who have tied him down or the Terminator, a human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg?

The pundits from the Left believe the former; the Right hopes the latter.

And how will this affect the 2005 California Special election and Election 2006 where the Governor must seek re-election?

The San Francisco Chronicle has this Sunday News Analysis piece, Sand kicked in face of strong-man governor.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has relished the role of the fearless "Terminator" armed for battle against an army of special interests, is suddenly looking more like Gulliver -- besieged, tied down, and overrun by his opponents.

And no wonder: After months of campaigning, fund raising and warning of a Nov. 8 special election he insisted was "guaranteed,'' the governor's team blinked this week. Campaign adviser Mike Murphy floated a trial balloon -- most likely to gauge Democratic Party as much as voter reaction -- with Friday's public acknowledgement that Team Schwarzenegger has discussed the impossible: dumping the much-heralded special ballot altogether.

The fact is this trial balloon of cancelling the November special election has been the topic of conversation for many weeks. Flap has had a number of pieces:

California Special Election Watch: Cancel the Election?

California Special Election: Deal Unlikely?

Governor Schwarzenegger: Not the Time to Turn Squishy

And the Left wishes to influence the Governor to quit. Indeed, they are trying to PUNK him.

Here are some of their comments:

But veteran Democratic strategist Garry South said there's hardly an outpouring of pity for the GOP action-hero-turned-governor with this latest development. "He's gotten himself into this pickle," he said. "This was all about testosterone, and we'll have to see whether his glands outduel his brain on how to get out of this mess.''

Democratic consultant Gale Kaufman also seemed to be enjoying the governor's predicament. Strategy is limited, she said, when you're hanging on the side of a cliff.

"They are in free fall here,'' she said of the governor's team. "They don't have any good choices.''

Ha! Name calling from Gray Davis's former political strategist. And who is now working for California Controller Steve Westly, who is also an announced candidate for Governor (running in a contested June 2006 Democrat primary against California Treasurer Phil Angelides).

Wouldn't it be convenient for the special election to be cancelled so all of that teacher union (CTA and AFT) and SEIU money raised for a media campaign this November could be channeled into the 2006 races?

Yes, how convenient for the Democrats to save campaign resources by trying to PUNK the Governor into cancelling his own election to his own electoral demise in 2006.

But, remember Schwarzenegger has already won the 2005 election. Even if he loses every measure (very unlikely), he stays the course for California reform, maintains the status quo and depletes the resources of his opponents. Resources that cannot be used in the Democrat primary race in June and cannot be saved for television ads against him.

The Governor has been raising money and has plenty on hand for television and a Get Out the Vote campaign. Donors who have supported Proposition 77 (now off the November 2005 ballot, pending an appeal) will rally behind the Governor when the measure reappears revised (more than likely) on the November 2006 ballot. Arnold has the resources, but does he have the political will?

He now must ignore the pundits, the early polls and stay the course.

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Cross-posted to the Bear Flag League Special Election Page.

Cross-posted from the FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog.